Can Your Clothing Affect Your Performance?

The Washington Post reported on a new study that could show that clothing affects performances in the workplace.

In the study, Adam Galinsky states that if someone is wearing a lab coat, their ability to concentrate increases. He state this after studying enclothed cognition which is defined as the influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes. One of the experiments consisted of testing enclothed cognition by letting the participants wear lab coats while completing the Stroop test. The Stroop test is when the participant says the color of the word rather than what the word says. They found that the participants wearing the lab coats made less mistakes but did not approve above average.


stroop test

A similar study by Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl found that the different style of clothing affected self-perception rather than performances. Most felt authoritative, trust worthy, and competent when wearing business attire but friendliest when wearing casual attire. The results were calculated through asking the participants questions based off of how they feel while wearing specific clothing.

The two studies show different statistics but statistics that work together. Although more studies have to be done on this topic, I think it is safe to say that when you are dressed properly, whether it is in a labcoat or business attire, your work ethic changes from a relaxed state to a business state. I went to a private school where uniforms were enforced, and I always felt more productive with the attire on rather than when I was wearing jeans. I also feel like when people are wearing nice clothing they are less likely to act out and be irrational. I agree with both findings. I am interested to see more studies on this topic and whether or not enclothed cognition ever becomes an accepted term.


8 thoughts on “Can Your Clothing Affect Your Performance?

  1. John Luken

    I found this post to be interesting because of the quote “Look good, play good.” There may be a mental aspect to this like you said in your post but when it comes to athletic performance, the clothing you wear can affect the outcome of your performance. This article explains that in races that are determined by a fraction of a second, the aerodynamics and other similar factors are very important when it come to the clothing that you wear.

  2. Shannon Elizabeth Kress

    I agree with this blog, and find it very interesting. My senior year, we had to dress up, professionally, and we were always encourage to not wear a bunch of bright colors, because we were told it would take away from the professional look we were trying to achieve. It is interesting that the way something looks can make a big impact on how we feel about it. It would make complete sense to me that if you dress for success, in colors that make you feel more relaxed, that you would do better. Here is an interesting website that shows the color wheel and the emotions that go along with these colors. I would be really curious to see more studies done.

  3. Millie Rachel Dweck

    I find this topic very interesting! I researched it as well! I think that its crazy as college students, we dress so casually and messy to class when there are cause studies that show how dressing nicer! This Link is another study that proves that clothing effects cognitive thinking. Students who dress nicer think better! Nice job with the blog!

  4. Yuxing Cai

    I agree with your opinion. In the beginning of the semester, I went to the presentation by Macy’s talking about “Dress for success” and they also talks about some color that you need to wear in most situation. In addition, I think dress in different not only affect other’s attitude to you but also your own emotion. Here is an article about emotion and color.

  5. Hung Chieh Wang

    When I was in high school, my school also required us to wear uniform. I think the best part of it is that I don’t need to think 15 minutes about what I am going to wear together. And uniform also let the class more simple, and people would not spend a bunch of time talking about the new clothes and others. I also think that colorful clothes make people more excited or have more feelings. This is a website about how color change our mood Color change our moods

  6. Stephanie Ann Loesch

    I was compelled to read this blog as I found this topic to be very unique. That being said, I would love to see more studies to support each point you make. I fear that human responses vary with perception though the responses seem logical. When thinking about how clothing affects ones performance, the first thought that comes to my mind is whether or not the material and fit itself are most effective. Dr. Karen Pine, a professor of psychology from the University of Hertfordshire states, “A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us…’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.” I found this statement to be very profound as it summarizes the studies you include well. I am curious as to what biological mechanism can explain this. How this the brain triggered to think these certain ‘stereotypes.’ A study reported that people put a coat on and were told it was a doctors. They later put on an identical coat but were told it was a painters. It was reported that the people were more attentive when they thought they were in the doctor’s coat. This is truly a great topic to analyze and these studies are really interesting to me.

  7. Danielle Lindsey Deihl

    While it is intriguing to examine how specific clothing makes someone feel about him or herself, it is also interesting to study how people perceive others based on what they’re wearing. For example, it is common knowledge that someone should wear business attire to a job interview. This article from professors at the University of Hertfordshire explains a study in which participants rated images of people in various attire on five important business traits. The study concluded, “people are judged on their overall head-to-toe appearance and the fundamental role that dress style plays in creating a positive first impression cannot be underestimated”. Even though it is often heard that people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this study demonstrates that they do.

  8. Alex Rosencrance

    I found your blog very interesting because I personally know that I seem to feel better when I am dressed nicer. This is going back to my freshman year, when I had a teacher tell me that you have to “dress for success”. I know that it is anecdotal, but since then I always dress nicer on important test days because I feel better when I do. So it would be interesting to see if the difference in performance is only related to confidence. However if someone does better on a test or presentation because they feel more confident, then shouldn’t we say that the system works? It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with more and more studies coming out.

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